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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Democratic schools (Page 4)

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Author Topic: Democratic schools
Tresopax
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quote:
It was not your typical snooze class but was actually useful.
This is the #1 problem with education. If students view the "typical" class as something useless, how can we expect them to learn much?

Schools need an answer to the following question: Why do I need to know this?

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Liz B
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Absolutely. And that's where two things come in that can be problematic:

1. Teachers sometimes have to make a pretty big stretch to show students why content is important. I don't blame jlt for getting annoyed with it (that is, posting learning goals to justify content). It's yet another case of the immediate and ineffective application of important research. The research behind it is pretty solid--students do learn better when they know WHY they're learning something. But you can't justify every single objective that way.

For example, today we're learning the spelling pattern governing making plurals for singular nouns ending in -y. The REASON why kids need to know this is because readers tend to tag spelling errors as highly indicative of a writer's intelligence. Students who make errors in spelling are hindering their own ability to communicate effectively--the reader disregards their message because a spelling error makes them look stupid. It's very important for me to let kids in on this information at the beginning of a unit of study, and then to remind them of it periodically, BUT NOT EVERY SINGLE DAY. It becomes annoying and a real stretch, as jlt notes. The research is still valid, but it's misunderstood, applied incorrectly, and thus ineffective.

2. We start justifying learning in economic terms (as I complained about earlier in this thread). That's what makes the most sense to American society, so it makes parents and often students happiest on the surface...and yet it's often not a satisfying reason, as is obvious from jlt's comments. Kids aren't dumb, so they start figuring out that teachers can break everything down to "You need to do this hard assignment because someday you'll have to overcome challenges in your working environment." That loses its effectiveness pretty quickly.

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Icarus
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quote:
Originally posted by Phanto:
We currently pay teachers 34.06$ per hour, on average. That's not terrible pay; in some areas, it's even 44$ per hour.

http://opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009612

What the hell?! That's around one and a half times what I make, and I've been doing this for twelve years.

I'd like to see those stats myself, because around five years ago I did the research into salaries using Bureau of Labor statistics, for a Hatrack thread. My findings at the time, which I posted here, were that no job requiring a bachelor's degree paid less, on average than teaching did. Somehow, I don't buy that things have changed that drastically in five years.

[ February 06, 2007, 09:14 PM: Message edited by: Icarus ]

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jlt
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
quote:
It was not your typical snooze class but was actually useful.
This is the #1 problem with education. If students view the "typical" class as something useless, how can we expect them to learn much?

Schools need an answer to the following question: Why do I need to know this?

They also need less bboring, more innovative, ways to teach it. (I'm tired of taking so many notes! I know sometimes they're a good learning device but eventually they just become extra paper and a list of what you're about to forget.)
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Liz B
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One of my former boyfriends took his organic chemistry notes in mirror writing. He didn't need to study them again to remember them, just to write them down...and writing them backwards helped him to stay awake.

Why don't you give that a try? [Wink]

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Elizabeth
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Ic,
Two of my students found a site which listed the salaries of pretty much any job in pretty much any location. I was asking them to update a simulation I do, and the book I used was very outdated(gas at a little over a dollar a gallon)

I will ask them for the site.

[ February 07, 2007, 07:35 PM: Message edited by: Elizabeth ]

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Belle
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I don't know about the rest of the country, but you can access Alabama's teacher salary info right here.

To save you time, a new teacher (less than three years experience) with a Bachelor's degree makes a minimum of $33,737 per year. That's for a 187 day contract, which if you do the math and assume an eight hour day, that comes to roughly $22 an hour. And by the way, I'm not lowballing that by only including the "minimum" salaray, in my experience of checking with local districts, few pay more than a few hundred dollars more than the minimum, if anything over the minimum.

Of course, you must assume that teachers 1) only work those 187 days and 2) only work eight hours a day. Neither of those is true, from what my friends who are teachers tell me.

You also need to consider where the salaries go - and what type of advancement is possible. If you never get a higher degree, and therefore remain at the bachelor's level in Alabama, you will top out at 42,934 per year after 27 years of experience. Look at that again - after more than 25 years of experience you will only be making $9,197 more per year (of course, I'm not factoring in cost of living increases, but those tend to lag behind inflation, anyway).

Show me another job with so little opportunity to advance your salary. Would you stay in a job if you knew you would never increase your salary by more than that, even after 27 years of experience? In contrast, back in the day when I was a database programmer, I saw more than a $9,000 annual increase in my salary in the span of three years, much less 27.

You need to also factor in the cost of keeping your certification current, many teachers pay for continuing education credits out of their own pockets. And, if you want to increase your salary by getting another degree, that usually comes out of your pocket too.

Teachers spend a lot of their own money in their classrooms as well:

quote:
On average, teachers report spending a total of $475 of their own money on classroom materials and supplies.
44% of respondents spend over $500 on their classrooms, with 20% spending over $1,000.

From here

So I'm going to have to disagree that teachers are sitting fat and happy on their more than $34 per hour.

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Christine
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Elizabeth -- I know monster.com has that option because my husband has been using it in his current job hunt to help him decide what to put in the "What salary do you expect?" line. It broke it down by job title and region. I don't know exactly where on the monster site it was, though.
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Elizabeth
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Thanks, Christine. When the kids did it, my jaw dropped to the floor, because there was my salary!

Belle, I want to tally up my out-of-pocket spending this year.

I did not go into teaching to make a lot of money. Not to sound like a cornball, but the benefits outweigh the downers for me. I love to play games. Where else can you be 42 and play games, unless you are a video game creator, or a pro athlete?

I love my job. I think it's fun. But I teach fifth grade in a nice school. Not a cushy school, but a school where kids don't throw things at me or swear at me. (I've been there, too.)

This is not to diminish one thing Belle said. Teachers generally do work more than the hours say they do. (There are some who don't!)

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Elizabeth
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http://content.salary.monster.com/
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